Historic election results for women
Tokyo's Yuriko Koike beat 20 candidates to become the first female governor of Japan's capital on July 31.

Locally, notable in Minneapolis August 9 primary results was 33-year-old Ilhan Omar defeating longtime Rep. Phyllis Kahn in the Minnesota District 60B DFL race. Omar spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya after civil war broke out in her country. She is expected to become the first Somali-American in the United States elected to a state legislature.

Kahn, 79, was part of a trailblazing group of women elected to the Minnesota Legislature in 1972. After 44 years at the Capitol, where she worked on everything from the Clean Indoor Air Act and environmental issues to securing more funding for parks and trails, Kahn said of her defeat on primary night, "When I was elected in '72 it was a historic event. This is a new historic event."
Source: BBC, MinnPost

Shopping for women leadership
A new gender equity index offers a searchable database of major consumer products to see how brands, restaurants and even gas stations fare when it comes to putting women on their management teams and boards. The LedBetter Gender Equality Index gives high numbers, for example, to clothing brand H&M (58 percent female board, 41 percent leadership positions held by women). On the other hand, Honda, Adidas, and the parent company of the Oprah Winfrey Network - Discovery Communications - have either no women on their boards or on the executive teams.
Source: Biz Journals, www.getledbetter.com


Women make unhealthy strides
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 40 percent of U.S. women are obese, newly surging ahead of men at 35 percent. According to the World Health Organization, 15 percent of women and 11 percent of men worldwide are obese. Obesity is considered one of the nation's leading public health problems because it can trigger diabetes and lead to heart disease and other serious health problems. Until the early 1980s, only about 1 in 6 adults was obese. Obesity is calculated by dividing a person's weight by their height to produce the body mass index (BMI). A BMI of 25 or greater is considered overweight, and a BMI of 30 and above is obese.
Source: U.S. News

Same-sex marriage, without the sex
Cultures of domestic violence, rape and abuse continue to be issues in northern Tanzania. But a tribal group in the patriarchal Mara region is re-visioning a tradition. By tribal law, only men can inherit property; a woman who is widowed or abandoned is allowed to marry a younger woman, who can take a male lover and give birth to heirs on her behalf. This "house of women" practice (nyumba ntobhu) - living, child-rearing and working land together, without sex - is not new. Now, younger women are simply proactively opting to marry another woman. Explained one 29-year-old female journalist there, "It combines all the benefits of a stable home with the ability to choose their own male sexual partners." Marriages between women also help reduce the risk of domestic abuse, child marriage, and female genital mutilation. "Younger women are more aware these days, and they refuse to tolerate such treatment."
Source: Marie Claire

Making a case about distraction
School dress codes that ban specific articles of clothing - often based on subjective viewpoints of teachers about whether a student's clothing is "distracting" to boys - not surprisingly end up disproportionately requiring girls to leave the classroom. Students in Portland, Oregon, noticed the discrepancy and raised it with a principal, who confirmed unfairness in the system. They testified to the school board, worked on a committee with peers and administrators, and a new gender-neutral dress code is now in effect.
Source: BitchMedia